Rescue Advocate Mike Ruiz's Passion for Pitties
Mike Ruiz, Oliver (Pitbull, deceased) & Julia (Pitbull/6), Millstone Township, NJ
Celebrity Photographer Mike Ruiz is not just your average dogdad. The former model, director and actor’s life was forever changed when he rescued Oliver in 2012. Inspired by Oliver’s tragic life up until he was rescued, Mike is dedicated to changing public perception about bully breeds to show their gentle, loving side. He’s committed to erasing the stigma that leaves so many bully breeds neglected and unadopted.
Not only does Mike work with various Animal Rights Organizations to advocate for rescues, but he also supports numerous other charitable organizations, including Stand Up for Pits Foundation and The Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBTQ youth. Mike also helped launch the online retailer Social Impak that donates to these organizations.
Sadly, Mike’s beloved Oliver died of cancer in 2018. Mike readily acknowledges that Oliver changed his life at a time when they both needed it most. Growing up, Mike felt misunderstood which motivated his passion for Pitbulls, who are also often misunderstood. As an emotional person, Mike thinks he sometimes has too much empathy, but these days we sure need more people like Mike. It’s easy to see how Mike could fall for Oliver and then open his heart again to Julia, Mike second rescue Pitbull.
Julia was tied to a pole and left to die when she was rescued. She was nursed back to health by an amazing foster family. Mike and his then husband, Wayne, adopted Julia in 2018. Julia now enjoys the good life as a true “rags to riches” pup. Julia’s condition when she was rescued has fueled Mike’s commitment to end animal cruelty and the stigma against bully breeds. He’s a well-known advocate and dedicated to encouraging people to adopt rescues pets.
Near and dear to Mike’s heart is a project he started in 2018 to honor his beloved Oliver. Mike combined his love for Pitbulls and photography to create an annual calendar featuring male fitness models and adorable Pitbulls. Each year the calendar supports a different Pitbull rescue. Most of the models are Pitbull advocates and dogdads who donate their time. The 2021 calendar called “Pitties and Pecs” benefitted a rescue organization called Philly Bully Team www.phillybullyteam.com